EXCLUSIVE: Shane West Interview on NIKITA (CW)

Shane West - Nikita (CW)

On September 9th, the CW will premiere its new show, NIKITA, a remake of La Femme Nikita, and to find out more about this new take on the series, Daemon’s TV caught up with Shane West (ER, Once and Again) who plays the character of Michael. Michael

Shane West talked about his preparation for the role of Michael, what’s coming up in the first season of the show, and more importantly, where Michael lives… hint: It’s a mystery. So don’t forget to tune in to the premiere of Nikita on Thursday September 9 at 9pm on The CW. For now enjoy the interview.

How familiar were you with ‘Nikita’? Had you seen the French film and TV series?

Shane West: I was very familiar with ‘Nikita’, at least of the film. I was a fan of Luc Besson’s film. I’ve always been a fan of that. I’ve not seen the American version with Bridget Fonda and I had seen bits of certain episodes of the series with Peta Wilson. It was a little strange because when I watched a few of those episodes I was about to do a film called ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ that ended up starring her as well. Then, ironically, I’m now on that show. So it’s very strange. But, yes, I’d been very well aware of at least all the renditions.

How did that influence you when you prepared for the part of Michael?

Shane West: I think that a lot of it had to do, beyond just the character because the character just flat out was intriguing, playing someone who was so internally confused and so wrapped up in so many different things where he just doesn’t know where he’s going in life and just knows the right thing that’s keeping him focused is division and the sense of loyalty that he has to this. But it’s also that this is a younger version of Michael than has been out in the past. It started off being a lot older in the first two films and then is still older than me in the original series but younger obviously than the Luc Besson film. And obviously this is an even younger version and I felt a sense of pride to do my interpretation of Michael and I plan on giving him, and we’ll see if people like it, a little bit more of a heart. He’s just as dark and just as corrupt as in the past, but I think he might smile a little more. We’ll see.

Can you talk about what’s coming up for Michael in the first season?

Shane West: As much as I know and as much as I even can, I think what you’re going to see is that this is a first season. So in this first season you will be seeing a sense of development of all the characters hopefully and we’re only on episode six right now and there have been glimpses of backgrounds for Alex, Lyndsy Fonseca’s character, and Maggie [Q]. That’s about it so far. They’re starting to get into Michael and they’ll be getting into everyone else after. As we like to say, it’s not hard to bring Michael and Nikita together. It’s hard to keep them apart. So there will be things coming in, suddenly Michael, it might look like he has feelings for someone else. It might look like Nikita has feelings for someone else. It’s certain things, whether or not they happen, to drive a wedge into this to help the longevity of the series because in the past they were in Division together. This is something that keeps them apart and something needs to be fixed with where Nikita wants to go in her disruption of Division.

Is there anything you hope to find out about your character that you don’t know yet?

Shane West: I’m hoping that with what they told, which I honestly I shouldn’t say – this is one of the few times that I’ve ever been a part of a project where their back story on Michael I’ve so far been in a hundred percent agreement of. It’s been great. I haven’t had to suggest anything. Everything they’ve said has just been juicy and very fun to get into. I think that people will feel for Michael and the audience will feel for him once the storylines get out about his background and they see how truly messed up a lot of his life has been.

Can you talk about the format of the show? Is it more procedural in that each episode will be a single mission or will it be more serialized?

Shane West: I don’t know. So far it seems to have been kind of different missions. It’s been different every episode so far. The missions will change but what it’s holding onto is obviously the characters. They’ve learned from the other episodes. It’s not like they suddenly forgot everything and they have to start over. All those relationships are growing but it’s just the missions and the things in the background or in the forefront are changing. But we’re still, like if there’s an injury from episode one you might have that injury in episode two. There are certain things like that so it’s all still connected.

So could someone jump in after episode four or would they need to watch one through four?

Shane West: I think we’re doing it in a way where people can jump into it and not have to watch it from episode one. It would help if you did but I don’t think that it’s going to be necessary. I think that was a thought out plan.

Have you ever met Roy Dupuis, who played Michae in “La Femme Nikita” the series?

Shane West: No. But what’s funny is that I’ve always actually liked his work. Let me rephrase that. I don’t know much of his work but I liked his look and his interpretation of Michael in the original series. I’m a huge horror and sci-fi buff and there’s this movie called ‘Screamers’ with Peter Weller that he was the lead in. It was a little silly kind of science fiction but I thought that he was great in it and so he’s always stood out to me, period, as an actor even though I haven’t seen him in many American projects because I don’t think he has been. It’s just really weird to me then that suddenly ‘Nikita’ came around and I had a chance to even play that character. I thought that was funny.

Is there a question that nobody has asked you yet about your role that you’d like people to know?

Shane West: That’s an interesting question. I guess I could say one which I found kind of interesting. As we get the scripts, as you know it’s only episode six, and when you open up a script one of the first things it says is the cast and who will be working and who and will not be working and then it goes straight to the sets. It says, ‘Okay, we’re going to be in Nikita’s lair. We’re going to be in Division.’ What I’ve always wondered and wondered if someone would ask is where does Michael live. We haven’t established that at all.

So where does he live?

Shane West: I don’t know. I can start making up some things but I don’t want to be wrong and give you false information when it turns out that he lives in a skyscraper or something instead of a shanty. It’s one of those things that they haven’t established yet. It’s not necessary at all right now. Why that’s in my head is because people ask about his background and I can’t give too much on the background information yet but at part of that background could be where he lives, what his house actually looks like inside because that can show a lot of character in a person.

Do you have an idea for yourself about where he lives?

Shane West: No. I haven’t bothered. I haven’t really bothered because the thing is that I haven’t even had scenes with Michael we he might be in a locker room or in a gym or taking a shower, anything that would even be getting into a mindset of leaving or going home or coming from home or going somewhere. It’s always been in Division, on a mission, running straight to the elevator to go on that mission, certain things like that. I haven’t even had a scene where I’m eating. We’ll see.

Shane West as Michael